Posted 11/3/2014 2:22 PM (GMT -6)
I Moderate in Hepatitis, but have been lurking here for some time. And I am working through a tough time.
I live 5 miles from my baby sister, 67, who has been diagnosed with complicated grief/depression and cognitive dysfunction and lives alone. As I read the stages of dementia posted on this site, she is a 2... She does her own personal grooming and she is good company once she IS somewhere, but she is deficient in so many ways. She can write a check, but doesn't know if she paid the same bill 3 times. She writes the checks down but not the deposits so she never knows if she has any money. She cannot use an ATM machine any more, can't put gas in her car at a pump as she can't work the machine and watches 1 TV station that she turns on AT the TV. Good thing she like the History Channel. She can make calls on a cell phone and check text messages, but cannot use the GPS in her nice car, and can't do any banking on line.
She drives, but gets lost of she goes more than a mile or two from her home. So, I meet her and either drive with her to tell her the directions or drive her. WE are on the cusp of not letting her drive, but she will go kicking and screaming to that decision.
If she needs to be somewhere I call her that morning, then she calls me 3 or 4 times back to be sure she has the directions right and then it is a toss up if she will remember to do it. I can be on a street corner and she'll stand me up as often as not or come an hour early and be all upset at me for being "late."
She is about 75% compliant on her meds....5 psych meds, a statin, 2 bp, thyroid, and incontinence pill. Lots of meds. If she doesn't take the psych meds she is like a zombie. With the meds she is pretty good. Mostly.
She enjoys movies but can't tell you the next day what we saw. Her psychologist says to still take her for the socialization if she is enjoying the moment. She plays golf but can't recall where her ball goes or how many stokes she took. She playes with a friend who helps her with those issues. She likes to go out to dinner and I take her about 1 or 2 times a week because I know she is not eating right at home....yogurt, iced tea, balogna sandwiches and cookies. Never anything cooked at all.
I've worked bit by bit so that all her stuff is in joint accounts with me. Her house is in a joint account with my daughter (sis has no hubby or kids of her own). She has a will, beneficiaries on stuff, funeral plans, health directives,and I have her power of attorney. So everything is organized for the worst case scenario.
But we are struggling. What she wants and what I want are 2 different things. She wants to do whatever she wants and when it goes awry then wants me to fix it....so stuff gets turned off for non payment, things break, the meds get messed up when she doesn't refill them, and she spends money on crazy stuff. Last spring she bought a ticket for a $16,000 cruise! She can't find Olive Garden, which is 1 mile away. How can she meet a tour group in Buenos Aries by herself? Well, the outfitter gave us her money back. Thank goodness. I want to set things up automatically. I want to do her checkboook.. and I want to organize her meds and deliver them once a week in the box.
So we are at a crossroads. I had been able to talk her into doing what I thought was right for a long time. Now she has her skids on. Not exactly ugly. She says things like ...."over my dead body" or "no way is that going to happen." So I sort of do like the other caregivers and sulk off exasperated.
So I think I am going to do it another way. I am going to figure out the changes that need to be made and just do them.
I have changed most of her bills to auto payment from her main account and put money into another account where the bank it really close to her home. She can cash checks right there for cash as she can't do the ATM thing. And she can write a check to the cleaning lady and guy who does her pool. But the taxes and utilities, and insurance will be auto paid so that the DO get paid. And she will have to deal with it. She will hate this change.
I see advice here to just do what needs to be done. And I think I have felt empowered by that.
Being caregiver is rough. And this is such a sad disease. My sister was vibrant, funny, a professional with a good career, has traveled all over the world several times and can't find the mall. She was a saver and SHOULD be going on cruises. Once her life partner died, it was like she shrank into this helpless person. This is so very very sad.
Thanks for listening.
Mama Lama from Hep.